Story and Blogging

Story Power! Why Every Blogger Needs Must Share Their Story.

Fifteen years ago, ago I attended seminary and simultaneously interned at a large church in San Diego. During this time, I saw the power of storytelling dramatically played out! This small event made an enormous impact on me, as I vividly remember it many years later. One evening, our children’s pastor–who also happens to be one of the most skilled communicators I know–arrived at our Saturday evening service later than usual. He showed up wearing dark sunglasses, and was playfully teased by a number of children’s ministry volunteers, who asked, “Who are you trying to hide from?” Instead of responding, Pastor pulled down his sunglasses to reveal a red, swollen eye.

Pastor explained that he had contracted pink-eye earlier in the week. Although the doctor said he was no longer contagious, signs of the infection remained visible. Pastor stated matter-of-factly that he planned to tell the kids right away, so as not to get asked, “What’s wrong with your eye?” over and over again.

Our children’s service began as usual. It began with a team game, followed by a time of worship. Next, Pastor took the stage. He was still sporting his sunglasses. Pastor immediately drew the room full of kids into his story by stating that there was something gross that he wanted to show them. Pastor used big words, like “conjunctivitis,” and then took his story to the kids level, explaining that this is a fancy term for pink-eye. The room–packed tightly with well over fifty children–sat in complete silence. Every ear was tuned-in to the story.

But Pastor didn’t stop there. He explained the treatment process, which consisted of putting in eye-drops a few times a day. He shared how the drops didn’t hurt–except for the time that he put them in too quickly and accidentally jammed the bottle into his eye. Pastor’s pink-eye story took a few minutes for him to tell. It was personal, filled with humor, and ended with dramatic flair. Pastor looked at his watch and casually stated that it was time for his next dose of eye-drops. He asked the children if they wanted to watch, carefully removed the bottle from his jacket pocket, and lifted it toward his eye. The entire room rose to their feet. Those in the back row complained that they couldn’t see, and Pastor had to reposition himself before administering the eye-drops. That is the power of story!

The Power of Story

Personal stories are powerful. There is something intriguing, mysterious, and enticing about the lives of others. This is why memoirs, reality television, and blogs are so popular. People want to know about the lives of other people. And not just the big stuff. They are curious about the minute details too.

Blogging began in the mid-1990s, though there is no definitive starting point that I can find. Between 1983-1993, moderated newsgroups were used to share personal thoughts, opinions, and stories. In 1994, the power of story was taken to the next level when a number of writers began posting online diaries. Then, on December 17, 1997, Jorn Barger coined the term “weblog.” Two years later, a man by the name of Peter Merholz, jokingly broke the word into the phrase “we blog,” and it caught on. People began using the word “blog” as both a noun (to describe their site) and a verb (to describe what they did).

Blogging began with a slow start and quickly snowballed. By 2008 it was so popular that it was estimated that a new blog was born every second, of every hour, of every day. Now that is a lot of blogs and a lot of stories!

Undoubtedly, people are interested in the lives of others. [Tweet “Good bloggers provide useful information. The best bloggers share their lives too!”] What began as a small group of online journals, has grown, morphed, and exploded in popularity. The important thing to remember is that at its roots, blogging is all about the power of telling a great story. Not a dramatic story. Not an extraordinary story. But simple, every day, relatable stories.

Returning to the Power of Story

Today, I am finishing up my book Ten Great Ideas for Authors. Research for this new book led me to explore the history of blogging. My intention in writing this book was to provide a short e-booklet, filled with simple writing prompts, that would help bloggers pull out of a slump and share their stories. What I had planned to be a 30-page booklet quickly took on a life of its own, and is approaching 100 pages length! Although it’s not a massive book by any means, it is still a greater project than I intended. Because this book contains much more than a list of writing prompts, I may need to go back and change the title before it is published.

However, even if the title does change, the thesis will remain the same. [Tweet “The best bloggers don’t simply impart information, they also tell their story!”] Our stories matter. Blogging began with a tiny group of people, who began sharing their lives with the world. Fifteen years ago, I watched our children’s pastor bring a packed room to their feet, as he recounted his recovery from pink-eye. Our stories don’t have to be extraordinary, to be interesting.

Continuing the Story Conversation

For me, learning about the history of blogging is a reminder that our story matters, and to not only impart helpful information but also to share my life too. Ten Great Ideas for Authors, my goal is to provide tips, tools, and strategies that will help writers share their stories with the world. As I’m approaching the conclusion of this book, I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on this. What are you doing to add your life and your story to your blog posts? How do you balance sharing your story and sharing useful information in the blog posts that you write? I look forward to continuing the conversation in the comments below!

For more writing ideas, check out our highly-personalized, text-based coaching. As your writing coach, I’ll pull back the curtain and show you all of my favorite blogging resources. You can also check out my book Ten Great Ideas for Authors, where you will discover creative writing prompts and strategies to jump-start your author journey. I truly believe you are only one great idea away from writing success!  


Jed Jurchenko

Jed Jurchenko is the husband to an incredible wife, daddy to four amazing girls, and a foster dad to one more. He's served as a children's pastor, marriage and family therapist, psychology professor, award-winning writing coach, and life coach. Jed is the author of 23 books on relationships, parenting, writing, and doing life well. In his free time, you'll find Jed reading, preparing for an upcoming marathon, barbecuing, paddle boarding, and enjoying life with his incredible family. Find out more about Jed's books, coaching, and courses at www.ithrive320.com.

17 thoughts on “Story Power! Why Every Blogger Needs Must Share Their Story.”

  1. This is helpful to me Jed. Lately I struggle with how personal to get on the blog verses keeping things light and encouraging. I know many bloggers who share every detail of every minute and well, honestly, that is not me or my style. With that said, discerning between the two can be tricky. I like adding personal stories in the heart of a post with a message but even that sometimes needs much prayer.

  2. A spot-on post Jed. I’ve observed and participated in the blogging culture for pretty much all of it – albeit off and on throughout most of it, too. I am eager to read your book that also talks about the history of it and understand how it got to where it is today. Thanks, as always, for your wonderful insights. Blessings

    1. Thanks Chad,
      That’s awesome! I’m much newer to blogs and blogging. I wish I had joined in more when blogging first begun–And wish I had started my own site sooner 🙂 I remember the old chat rooms, and builtin boards vaguely, but never did participate much. It would have been fun to have followed this more closely from the very beginning.

  3. Hey Jed!

    So glad to hear that you’re finally finishing up your book. Whew! I can only imagine how much work that must entail. Good job!

    And thanks for this interesting background on the origins of blogging. I personally love sharing my story as I blog, but it can be scary – as my story is not all “pretty”. However, when I’ve found that when I’m most transparent that readers most identify with what I’ve said.

    Thanks for sharing and hosting. Have a blessed weekend!
    Tiffiney

  4. I couldn’t agree more. In the blog posts where I share the most of myself and therefore feel the most vulnerable, I seem to connect with people in the best way. People value information and helpful tips, but they LOVE to hear our stories. It’s a kind of heart-to-heart connection I think everyone looks for in a friend, and they’ll keep coming back to read if they feel they’re making that same kind of connection in a blog.

    Thanks for sharing. And for the opportunity to link up!

  5. Congrats on the upcoming book! I love reading blogs to see how God is working in the lives of others. We can learn so much through personal stories. I would love to read your book!

  6. I like the one on the right :). The whole blogging thing still has me shaking my head–when I started in 2012 I had never heard of a blog before (I don’t get out much 😉 ). Now a whole world of friendships and stories has opened up!

  7. I try to keep my blog the one place I keep happy and fun. I need to. I started my blog as a way to distress in my life and that is why I really shy away from personal stuff.

    Another reason is that someone at work got ahold of the name of my blog and decided to share it at work and made it into a joke. Basically, trying to make fun of me and I don’t like my personal business all over work.

  8. What an awesome story! It is wonderful being able to blog and tell your story, and get to know fellow bloggers who do the same. Thanks so much for hosting and hope you all have a blessed weekend 🙂

  9. Hi Jed,

    I love this post. I really enjoy hearing the story of how things come to be. Reading about where the term blog came from was alot of fun for me. For me, telling my story is what blogging is about, sharing a little of what goes on in my head. I love telling my story and hearing the stories of others. Real life is truly a series of adventures. Blessings to you. Thanks for sharing your story.

  10. I believe in the power of storytelling. I’ve even written about it. Several years ago, I saw a keynote speech by a former football player, Bo Eason, who preached the value of being a storyteller. I also went to his group session. It changed the way I approached blogging (though I realized that I’d been telling stories pretty much all along). Thanks for sharing at the Blogger’s Pit Stop.

  11. Can’t wait to read your book! Thanks as always for an awesome and thoughtful post. Sharing our story is the greatest tool we help our readers. Blessings my friend!

  12. It’s one of the huge draws of blogging for me – not only can I share my story, I get a sneak peek into so many different people’s lives. It has taught me so much about empathy and understanding!

    Thanks so much for sharing at #FridayFrivolity 🙂

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